Paul Keith Denney was born March 24, 1956 in Paris, Texas to Benjamin Paris Denney, Jr. and Sarah Etta Lightfoot Denney and passed away on July 18, 2019 after a courageous 16 month battle with brain cancer.
At an early age, Paul showed a great attention to detail, which served him well in his chosen profession of architecture. Paul was a graduate of Paris High School, Paris Junior College, and received a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Many buildings in Paris and other cities carry his legacy, including Love Civic Center, First United Methodist Church Children’s Building and Youth Building, Calvary United Methodist Church’s Glenn and Rona Vickers Multi-Purpose Building, City of Paris City Council Chambers , Paris Junior College South Campus Residence Hall, the Liberty Bank Collegiate Drive remodel, and his first project upon graduating from architectural school, the Gabbert Building at Paris Junior College. He also designed and built along with his dad and brother, an organ façade for First Presbyterian Church in Waco, TX.
While attending Paris Junior College, Paul found his musical niche as a member of the PJC Madrigal Singers. Music was most definitely one of Paul’s passions and over the years, he played bass in numerous bands, including The Paris Connection, The Blues Drivers and Rhythm and Jones. He loved all kinds of music from opera to rock to bluegrass, but the blues held a special place in his heart.
He was a member of the Chancel Choir at First United Methodist Church for over 40 years. Paul believed in being a contributing member of the community. Over the years, he was a member of the Lamar County Historical Society (where he previously served as president), Jaycees, the Paris Founder’s Lions Club (in which he held almost every office, including several terms as president), the Paris Junior College Alumni Board as a member and former president, and the Paris Junior College Board of Regents.
He was a board member of the Paris Blues Society and served on the original board of directors of the Paris Habitat for Humanity and designed and helped to build the first Habitat house in Paris. He also served on the McCuistion Hospital Gala Committee for many years setting up the intricate lighting and designing and building elaborate decorations. In addition, he helped to design and build sets for the Paris Community Theater for several seasons. In 1995, Paul met the love of his life, Linda Gail Vandiver, and began a journey with her that started as a friendship but developed into the two of them becoming soul mates. With Linda’s encouragement and not a little bit of complicity, Paul became an avid collector of antique electric fans.
He traveled to many annual “Fan Fair” meets hosted by the Antique Fan Collectors Association in cities such as Indianapolis, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan; Wichita, Kansas; St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; Houston, Texas; and Ft. Worth, Texas. His sidekick, Linda, accompanied him on many of these treks. He also collected glass telephone pole insulators, a hobby he began as a young boy.
Paul is survived by his beloved Linda, who during his illness also became his caretaker, a sister, Patricia McCrary and her husband, Dr. D.G. McCrary, Jr. and a sister-in-law, Pat Denney. Also surviving are nieces and nephews, Gordon McCrary and wife Melissa, Sadie McCrary, Ben McCrary and wife, Leticia, Alicia Denney, Nathan Denney and wife Tifanee, and one great-nephew, Liam Denney. He also leaves behind Linda’s brother and sister-in-law, Larry and Janie Vandiver and numerous cousins with whom he spent many happy childhood days playing at his grandmother’s house.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents, and brother, David Denney.
Funeral services will be held at Calvary United Methodist Church on Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 10 a.m.
Presiding will be Rev. Rob Spencer and Rev. Tim Marks. A visitation for family and friends will be held at Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home on Friday evening from 6-8 p.m.
Pallbearers will be Gordon McCrary, Ben McCrary, Terry Ervin, Mike Secrest, Bobby Hargroves, and Kenny Daus. Honorary pallbearers are Jim Gaylor, Grady Harper, members of the Paris Blues Society, and past and present members of the Paris Founder’s Lions Club.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the First United Methodist Church Music Fund, the Lamar County Historical Society, the Paris Blues Society, or a charity of your choice.
Online condolences may be sent to the Denney family at www.fry-gibbs.com.